I intend to…because…

As teachers we hear questions like this all day long… “Can I work on writing?” “Can I read a book?” “Can I sketch in my art journal?” “Can I use markers?” “Can I go to the library?” “Can I go get a set of headphones?” We, the teachers, are constantly evaluating and making decisions for the students. We are doing all of the work and answering the questions with only part of the information. What if, instead, we taught our students to use,  “I intend to…because…” What difference would it make? Keep reading. It is powerful. “I intend to work on writing because I am almost finished my book and I really want to get it done to show my mom. I’ve been telling her about it every day.” “I intend to read a book because I am really nervous about the swimming competition after school today and reading will calm me down.” “I intend to sketch in my art journal because I want to practice drawing a mouth before I draw the mouth on my portrait. Every time I draw mouths I don’t like them. I need to figure out how to draw them.” “I intend to use markers because the colours will stand out. The light in space is so bright, I think markers will  be better than pastels for this picture.” “I intend to go to the library to get the next book in the series because the librarian told me it just arrived and I am so excited! I’ve been waiting a month for it!” “I intend to get a set of headphones to listen to this video and I don’t want to disturb anyone else. Jack told me that this video had a lot of information about Kepler 186f, and I really want to know more about why it might be habitable.”   “I intend to…because…” is so powerful for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • The students are pro-active and take ownership of their learning, totally engaged
  • The students, not the teacher, think through and assess the reasons why they are choosing to do something
  • The teacher learns a lot about each student as they give their reasons for choosing a learning intention, their reasons are a segue into what they are thinking about and what is important to them
  • The students develop skills of self-management, critical thinking, evaluation, informed choices, and speaking with confidence

I intend to...  “I intend to…” does not give a free ticket to do whatever.  For example, here is a possible scenario: student: “I intend to play this Maths game because it is fun and I like it.” teacher: “Tell me about what you are learning in the game.” student: “I have to answer multiplication questions.” teacher: “Is this a skill that you need to work on some more?” student:”No, I know all the multiplication facts to 100 already! The game is easy! I always win!” teacher: “So tell me about what you are learning in the game.” student: “Hmm. I think I would learn more in the game about division. I still need practice with that.” teacher: “Okay.” If you, the teacher, are not convinced with the intention, probe (and guide) some more… “Tell me more about the learning you will be doing.” “Tell me about your plans to be safe.” “Tell me about your plans to finish the assignment by tomorrow.” “Tell me about your plans to…” “Did you know that you could find out more about X by asking/by reading/by looking at Y?” Asking the students to state their intentions sends the powerful message that we assume they are capable to make learning decisions. (see previous related post here) We can teach our students to take control, contribute their full intellectual capacity and become healthy and happy leaders. What do you intend to do? (This post was inspired by David Marquet in his book Turn the Ship Around!) (All examples of ‘intentions’ above were taken from the students in my Grade 4 class.)

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3 Responses to I intend to…because…

  1. lirjh says:

    I think it’s an excellent strategy/tool…empowers the kids, establishes a strong discourse with the student, and defines you as the one who is guiding, not instructing.

    Like

  2. Hey there, I found your blog very informative and helpful. I’ve read almost all your blog posts and would really love to read more of it. I suggest you also syndicate your blog on popular sites like http://ManagementParadise.com where you will find millions of like minded people as a ready audience. Keep Blogging. Cheers!

    Like

  3. Madiha says:

    Hayy all
    I want to ask for some assessment strategies and specially some of assessment recording techniques.
    Thanks

    Like

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